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Cardinal adds voice against contraceptive rule: ‘We cannot — we will not — comply’

This news story was published on February 10, 2012.
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Chicago Tribune –

As the White House prepared to announce changes in a controversial contraceptive rule today, Cardinal Francis George added his voice to a chorus of church leaders against the requirement that religious organizations cover birth control for women free of charge.

“We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law,” George writes in a letter to be read in churches this Sunday. “People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens because of their religious beliefs.”

The rule, announced on Jan. 20, requires religious-oriented groups such as charities, hospitals and universities — but not churches — to provide coverage for birth control as other health insurance providers must do.

The Catholic Church rejects most forms of contraception such as birth control pills, and many Catholic leaders have been outspoken in opposition to the rule. Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has called on Obama to back off from the rule and said it contradicted assurances Obama gave him during a White House meeting in November.

Sources say the White House is planning to announce changes in the rule today. The changes have to do with putting the onus on insurance companies to provide contraceptive coverage, according to officials involved in the discussions.

In a letter released Thursday, George said the rule as written will force Catholic employers “to offer their employees health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those ‘services’ in the health policies they write.

“We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom,” the cardinal wrote. “Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights.”

George concludes by urging Catholics in the archdiocese to “commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored.”


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